Five Easy-To-Follow Principles To Safeguard Your Financial Future

Ron Lieber kicks off his inaugural Your Money column by presenting five excellent principles to help guide your financial decisions.

  • Simplify Your Investments: Let day traders slave over charts and dodge heart attacks. Stash your cash in an index fund and watch your money grow effortlessly.
  • Occasionally Pay For Help: Investing is one thing, but taxes and other potentially complex arrangements sometimes call for professional help:

    Perhaps the best thing a versatile professional — whether it is a financial planner, accountant, stockbroker or lawyer — does is provide discipline. It is difficult to get most of this stuff right. And to get it done at the right time. Professionals help make sure it all happens on schedule.

  • Read Consumerist More Often: Especially to research companies before making large purchases. Use this guide to see how editors research topics we’ve already covered.

    And take a bow, commenters: “both the blog posts and the comments” are a valuable source of information.

  • Automate Everything: Auto bill bay is an adorable skunk, cute until it stinks. Auto bill pay makes paying your bills oh-so easy, but any errors are immediately charged to your account. For those who want the convenience of auto bill pay without remaining liable for someone else’s mistake, consider directing all your bills to your credit card. You’ll pick up rewards and build your credit history, while retaining the power to fight errors with chargebacks.
  • Talk!: Talk openly about your finances with your family. “If we do not know what is coming, we cannot help them plan for it.” Ask your parents about their retirement plans and adjust your savings accordingly. Likewise, imbue your children with an understanding of finances so they can catch you if you slip-up down the road.

What principles guide your financial decisions? Share your pillars in the comments.

Five Basics for Building a Solid Financial Future [NYT]
(Photo: Dr. Hemmert)